Computerized Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Works for Anxiety Disorders

Researchers from Yale University School of Medicine performed a meta-analysis on the effectiveness of computerized CBT (cCBT) for anxiety disorders and the durability of treatment gains during follow-up.

They included randomized controlled trials assessing the efficacy of cCBT for non-OCD and non-PTSD anxiety disorders, resulting in 40 trials involving 2,648 participants.

Computerized CBT was compared to wait-list, in-person CBT, and Internet control. They also examined moderators of cCBT treatment gains over follow-up.

Meta-analysis indicated that cCBT was significantly more effective than wait-list control in the treatment of anxiety disorders (standardized mean difference [SMD] = 0.92 [95% CI, 0.83 to 1.02], k = 31, z = 18.8, P < .001).

Moderator analyses also found that cCBT targeting specific anxiety disorders had greater efficacy than that targeting mixed anxiety symptoms.

The efficacy of cCBT was equivalent to in-person CBT in studies that compared them head-to-head, for both children and adults (SMD = 0.05 [95% CI, -0.09 to 0.19], k = 15, z = 0.7, P = .46).

Longitudinal studies showed that individuals undergoing cCBT tended to continue to improve after completion of treatment, with longer follow-up periods associated with greater symptom reduction.

The study concludes that cCBT represents an efficacious intervention for the treatment of anxiety disorders and may circumvent barriers to accessing traditional CBT treatments, such as a lack of practitioners.

Citation Adelman CB, Panza KE, Bartley CA, Bontempo A, Bloch MH1. A meta-analysis of computerized cognitive-behavioral therapy for the treatment of DSM-5 anxiety disorders. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2014 Jul;75 (7):e695-704. doi: 10.4088/JCP.13r08894. [email protected]